I hear this phrase at the gym and I find it difficult to get out of my comfort zone. After work, the last thing I want to do is get my heart rate up and sweat. I give a dirty look to the coach but I keep working till my heart rate goes up and up some more.
At ASC, we have been exploring and sharing our thoughts on race, class and culture.
More importantly, we’ve been listening and learning. There are a lot of uncomfortable subjects I have been dancing around, avoiding, regarding race and class. I know I need to start speaking up and getting uncomfortable with these conversations. I am willing to. Growth happens in the spaces where we dare to get uncomfortable.
I was on a video call recently with a Black birth family. I have been supporting them through a reconnection with their daughter’s (white) adoptive parents. They shared with me life had gotten in the way of staying in contact with their birth daughter and her parents. They admitted they had not been as good at keeping in touch. I made sure they knew it was ok. There is no judgement. Birth parents have a difficult road to walk after placement. Navigating grief. And, raising other children. Surviving.
She (birth mom) asked if I could help them reconnect. She wants her daughter to know she loves her and wants her to know her brothers too. I sat and looked at their faces. Their long braids, dark skin and the way they spoke. I saw a beautiful family. I saw their race and their culture. The love. I listened to the way they spoke about why they placed their daughter for adoption four years ago. He was not in the position to help her. She was not in the position to parent on her own. This was her 3rd baby in 4 years. Today they sit and say, “we never thought we would reconcile and be able to give our birth daughter the experience of her first parents and siblings all together. We just want to see her and allow her to know us.”
The image of them brought so much emotion to me. I could not stop the tears that came. Birth mama had to step away from the camera as she was so overcome with grief. Birth dad then said, “if you could just ask them to update us, let us get to know each other and allow our children to all play, it would be awesome.”
I work on these re-connections often. This one felt even more important. Especially at this time. It wasn’t just about connecting two families, this adoptee to her birth family. It was about connecting a child to her roots. Her history. Her culture. Her race.
When I contact adoptive families to reconnect or request updates, I am often challenging them to get uncomfortable.
Many are ready to hop on board. To take this journey. Others need more help and support. That’s what we’re here for. Stepping out of our comfort zone is the best shot we have at growth and healing. Especially for the adoptees we love and support.
I’m continuing to show up at the gym most days. Through sweat (and some pain) I’m walking into the uncomfortable, and you know what? I’m getting stronger.
We’re doing the same thing here at ASC. Challenging ourselves to step outside our comfort zone. To have the difficult conversations. To push a little when needed. We’re seeing growth. And, healing. Let’s continue to get uncomfortable. Together. It may not always be easy. But, it will be worth it.